VATICAN CITY, FEB. 9, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Several cardinals say that no thought is seriously being given to the possibility of John Paul II’s resignation, since he enjoys the clearheadedness he needs to continue guiding the Church.
In fact, “to speak about the Pope’s resignation” at this time “is in poor taste,” contends Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
In statements Tuesday to the AdnKronos agency, the cardinal said that the question of a papal resignation is particularly grave given that “it has been reopened, using the flu as excuse.”
The Holy Father has been hospitalized since Feb. 1 in the Gemelli Polyclinic for complications from influenza.
For his part, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, stressed Tuesday on the Colombian station Radio Caracol that the Pope has “all the mental capacity” to govern the Church.
“The law of the Church, for any reason of an individual or personal nature, always leaves the Vicar of Christ the freedom to decide,” the cardinal said. “He is the only one who takes initiatives in this respect. And at present, it isn’t the case.
“There is no need to speak of the topic. The Holy Father has control of the rudder of the Church.”
Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop of Paris, said that the Pope “is conscious of his task and wishes to fulfill it to the end.”
In statements Tuesday on the France 2 television station, Cardinal Lustiger said that in his last meeting with the Holy Father in December, he was face to face with him at a table for “more than an hour.” John Paul II asked him “all kinds of very precise, intelligent and perspicacious questions,” the cardinal recalled.
“He remembered perfectly the issues he wished to address. I was very impressed by his attention and presence,” the French prelate added.
The Pope “is not ashamed of his physical state,” he continued. “He is conscious of the fact that he has been led to this state and that he must fulfill his mission in this state.”
Cardinal Lustiger explained that the Pope does not “direct the Church as a super manager.” The cardinal hastened to ask: “Does the Pope have to direct the Church like the president of a company?”
“The Pope participates in his destiny as disciple of Christ,” the Paris archbishop said. The Holy Father’s illness “is part of the message and of his function; however, having clarified all this, it must be said that the daily governance of the Church functions anyway.”